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Tag Archives | Turkish pastries

Easter Bread with Mahlep; Paskalya Coregi

Easter bread with mahlepi; Paskalya Coregi

Easter bread with mahlepi; Paskalya Coregi

I’ve been getting requests to make the fragrant Paskalya Coregi, the Easter bread sold in bakeries and patisseries in Istanbul all year around. I am so glad the readers asked (with special thanks to James Baydar) and I had a go at them; an absolutely delicious bread, that fills your home with heavenly smells of mahlep or mahlebi and mastic.

Fragrant mahlep or mahlepi seeds, a must for the Paskalya Coregi, Easter Bread

Fragrant mahlep or mahlepi seeds, a must for the Paskalya Coregi, Easter Bread

The  star ingredient in this bread is, Mahlep or mahlab, mahlebi, an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry.  It has been used for centuries in the Middle East as a flavoring for baked goods. In Greek cooking, it is the characteristic flavoring of Christmas cake and Easter pastry recipes.  In Armenia it is used to flavour the traditional Easter bread. In Turkey, it is used for pogaca, (savory pastries with cheese or various fillings), Kandil Simiti, special bread rings with sesame seeds to mark religious festivities. Mahlab is also used in Paskalya Coregi, the special sweet bread that you can find all through the year in patisseries, pastanes, in Turkey (the word Paskalya driven from the Greek Pashalia to Turkish). Istanbul has a long history of having some brilliant Armenian and Greek pastry masters and most of the prominent patisseries were used to be run by them. Thanks to this heritage, the Paskalya coregi became a staple of Istanbul patisserie scene all year long. I grew up soaking the incredible smells of Paskalya Coregi; eager to buy our loaf and couldn’t resist sampling some on the way home, happy days.

Braiding the strips; . seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact.

Braiding the strips;  seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact.

Braid and seal the other end of the strips to finish braiding your loaf.

Braid and seal the other end of the strips to finish braiding your loaf.

Paskalya Coregi is such an easy, delicious bread, though it requires some patience and time, as you need to make sure the dough is risen / doubled its size. The braiding is very straight forward and this one is baked in less than 30 minutes.

Paskalya Coregi; Easter bread with mahlepi, straight from the oven!

Paskalya Coregi; Easter bread with mahlepi, straight from the oven!

As the Paskalya coregi bakes, fragrant mahlep and mastic smells coming from the oven is so heavenly and inviting, it is well worth the effort and the wait. Hope you can have a go and enjoy this special Easter bread you can find almost every bakery in Istanbul. Paskalya Coregi is lovely on its own or with some jam or honey over the slice. Children finished most of our loaves as soon as they were out of the oven!

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book – signed copies available to order at this link

I am passionate about the sweet and savoury pastries in Turkish cuisine and have a whole chapter on Savoury Pastries at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, signed copies available to order at this link, if interested.

Happy Easter and Passover to all readers celebrating.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Recipe adapted from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar

5.0 from 3 reviews
Easter Bread with Mahlep from Istanbul; Paskalya Coregi
 
This is a special Easter bread, Paskalya Coregi, that you can find all year around in bakeries in Istanbul. Fragrant mahlepi, mahlep and mastic makes the bread packed with flavor; slice and enjoy with some jam or honey over.
Author:
Recipe type: A special Easter Bread from Istanbul
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups and 1 tbsp. all-purpose plain flour, sifted
  • ½ cup (caster) sugar
  • 12 gr/ 1 ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 15 ml/ 3 tsp. ground mahlep or mahlepi
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp ground mastic
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 125 gr/ 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • For the topping:
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. whole milk
  • 45 ml/ 3 tbsp. thinly sliced, flaked almonds
Instructions
  1. Take the eggs out of the fridge about 1,5 hours ahead of time and bring to room temperature.
  2. If you are using whole mahlepi seeds, ground them at food processor with mastic.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, yeast, salt, ground mahlepi and mastic. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Stir in the beaten eggs, egg yolks, melted butter and warm milk to the bowl. Using your hands (or an electric mixer) bring it to a soft dough.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 3 -5 minutes, until you get a smooth dough.
  6. Put the dough into a greased large bowl, cover with cling film and wrap with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl at a warm part of the kitchen. Let the dough rise and double its size; this takes about 2,5 hours, depending on the room temperature.
  7. Once risen, punch the dough and divide into six equal balls. Roll each ball into 30 cm (12”) long 6 strips.
  8. Place 3 dough strips next to each other side by side. Pinch, seal the top end of the 3 strips so they stay intact. Braid and seal the other end of the strips; you made your first loaf. Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the 3 dough strips to make your 2nd loaf.
  9. Cover the baking tray with parchment paper and place the two braided loaves on it; make sure to leave 3 -4" between the loaves. Cover the loaves loosely with a damp towel. Place the tray at a warm place to rise for another hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
  11. Beat 1 egg yolk lightly in a small bowl and stir in 2 tsp. whole milk, mix well.
  12. Once the loaves risen, brush them with the egg yolk and milk mixture. Generously sprinkle the flaked almonds over the loaves and gently press so that the almonds stick to the loaf.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. Please check as of 15 minutes, as the loaves go dark rather quickly. In that case, loosely place an oven proof baking paper over to prevent further browning. As of 20 minutes, take the loaves out of the oven and insert a toothpick in the middle to see if it’s cooked. If the toothpick comes clean, that means the loaf is cooked. If not, bake for further 5 minutes or so.
  14. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let the Easter bread, Paskalya Coregi, rest on a wire rack. It will smell heavenly.
  15. Slice the loaf once cooled down; Paskalya coregi is delicious with a little butter and jam or honey over the slice.
 

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Spinach and cheese filled filo pastry triangles; Muska Boregi

Spinach and feta cheese filo triangles, Muska Boregi

Spinach and feta cheese filo triangles, Muska Boregi

We recently made these delicious cheese & spinach filo triangles, muska  boregi as we call in Turkish, at my recent Turkish cookery class. They were a huge hit and participants pleasantly surprised how easy & delicious they were. Indeed, these scrumptious triangles are a winner from children to adults. They are actually easier than you think; here are step by step visual instructions to make the stuffed filo triangles:

 

Fold the end of the strip over the filling diagonally so that it forms a triangle

Fold the end of the strip over the filling diagonally so that it forms a triangle

 Continue folding the strip in triangles until you get a small, triangular stuffed pastry

Continue folding the strip in triangles until you get a small, triangular stuffed pastry

 Seal the pastry all around with the water then brush them with egg&olive oil mixture

Boreks, stuffed pastries are hugely popular in Turkish cuisine; we Turks love them for breakfast  as an appetizer or a mid-day snack; there really is not a bad time for a borek! Yufka, the wonderful thin sheets of fresh pastry is used traditionally to make boreks at home, though they are hard to find (and not as good) abroad. (If you can get fresh yufka especially in Turkey, you can use only one sheet at a time, as yufka is more moist  and manageable. You may just want to keep your yufka stripes a little longer). I use the filo pastry sheets for this recipe and it works well. If frozen, you need to defrost the filo sheets overnight in the fridge and or leave at room temperature 2 hour before using. If you are using the fresh filo sheets kept in the fridge as in the supermarkets in the UK, you need to leave them at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. As for the cheese filling, if you can get the delicious, moist Turkish white cheese, beyaz peynir, that is a perfect fit here. The closest I can get to Turkish white cheese is the feta cheese abroad, and it is drier than the Turkish equivalent. Therefore, I add a little grated mozzarella to bring some creaminess and balance the flavors. You can omit if you prefer to.

Shepherd's Salad with tangy sumac, delicious & refreshing

Here’s also my YouTube video for these delicious filo triangles:

The trick with filo sheets is that they can dry out very quickly; if you keep the sheets under a slightly damp towel that helps to manage filo greatly. I hope you enjoy these delicious triangles; why not serving these delicious triangles with the refreshing Shepherd’s Salad with Sumac? They complement each other very well.

There are over 90 wholesome, easy, delicious Turkish recipes at my blog here as well as at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table  to inspire you. Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table are available at this link and delivered worldwide including the US.

Making stuffed filo triangles are easier than you think

Making stuffed filo triangles are easier than you think

 

Spinach & feta filled filo triangles, Muska Boregi

Spinach & feta filled filo triangles, Muska Boregi

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 5 reviews
Spinach and cheese filled filo pastry triangles; Muska Boregi
 
These popular Turkish savory pastries, Muska Boregi or Spinach and Cheese Filo Triangles, are delicious and easy; a real crowd pleaser. I hope you enjoy them, Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Savory Pastries, Borek
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 150 gr / 7 oz spinach leaves
  • 150 gr/ 7 oz feta cheese, mashed with a fork
  • 100 gr / app. 4 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • Bowl of 8 fl. oz/ 1 cup water to seal the pastry
  • 12 sheets of filo pastry (each sheet 48cmx25cm)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180c/350 F/gas mark 4
  2. Remove the stalks of the spinach, wash and chop roughly.
  3. Mix together in a bowl with the feta cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, shredded mozzarella and two of the beaten eggs; the filling is ready.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  5. Grease a rectangular baking dish with a little olive oil.
  6. Lay the pastry sheets on a clean surface and cut into 10cmx25cm stripes.
  7. Stack the stripes on top of another and cover with a damp towel so that they won’t dry out.
  8. Keep a bowl of water near you.
  9. Lay two stripes of filo sheets at top of one another.
  10. Place 1 tablespoon of the spinach mixture at one end of the filo pastry strip.
  11. Fold the end of the strip over the filling diagonally so that it forms a triangle.
  12. Continue folding the strip in triangles until you get a small, triangular stuffed pastry.
  13. Seal the pastry all around with the water; water really helps to keep filo sheets intact here. Repeat with remaining filo until you have used all of the filling.
  14. Place the stuffed triangle pastries on the greased baking dish and brush them with the egg & olive oil mixture.
  15. Bake the triangles in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until they are is golden brown. Serve hot as an appetizer or as part of a mezze spread.This dish can be successfully reheated.
Notes
1) If you would like to cut back on the amount of the eggs, you can decrease them in the spinach and feta filling. 2) This filo triangles freeze wonderfully. Once cooled, put them in a freezer bag and seal. When you’d like to reheat (at 180 C/ 350 F for about 15 minutes), put them in a greased baking tray and sprinkle the top with a little milk and water mixture to give some moisture
 

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Cheese and Potato filled filo rolls; Peynirli, Patatesli Borek

Filo rolls with feta and potato, peynirli, patatesli borek

Filo rolls with feta and potato, peynirli, patatesli borek


It is thought that the Ottoman Palace kitchens devised these tasty treats in order to tempt the precious little princes. The cigar shaped version with cheese and herb mixture is very popular at home for a snack, appetizer or as part of the Turkish breakfast. I had some left over cooked potato and added to the cheese and parsley mixture, the result was delicious – they disappeared very quickly, very popular with children as well as adults. Worth giving a go!

As with most savory Turkish filled pastries, this borek freeze very well once cooked too.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes

260 gr / 9 oz phyllo (filo) pastry sheets, thawed
110 gr / 4 oz potato, cooked
100 gr/ 3 1/2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
100 gr/ 3 1/2 oz shredded mozzarella
2 eggs (one for the filling, one for brushing the boreks)
1 bunch / 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
15 ml / 1 tablespoon olive oil
15 ml / 1 tablespoon whole milk
Nigella and sesame seeds to decorate the boreks (before baking)

Bowl of water to seal the filo rolls

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4

Mash together the cheese (feta and mozzarella), 1 egg, cooked potato, parsley and the milk to form a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. However, if the feta cheese is already salty, you may wish not to add salt.

Lay the filo sheets in front of you and cut to form elongated rectangles. Keep the pastry covered with a damp cloth as you are working. This will help to avoid it getting too dry or less manageable.

Lay one strip of filo and place a tablespoon of the filling along one of the short ends (take care not to overfill as the filling may ooze out while cooking). Fold over the pastry from each side to seal in the mixture and then roll up like a cigar. Wet the end with water to seal. Continue, keeping the finished ones covered with a damp cloth as you work. Refrigerate until required.

Mix the olive oil and the other egg in a bowl. Grease the tray with a little olive oil. Brush the pastries with olive oil and egg mixture. Sprinkle nigella and sesame seeds over the pastries and bake until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Serve hot as part of a meze spread.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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